First conversation: Ukraine’s new president phoned to Putin
Two presidents discussed the situation in eastern Ukraine and potential further contact.
On July, 11 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi held the first telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The call was initiated by Kiev.
The release of 24 Ukrainian sailors held by Russia since November was a “key question” during the call,- reports the official website of Ukraine’s president. They also discussed the resolution of the war in the Donbas, and a prisoner exchange.
Moreover, the two state leaders talked about continuing the Normandy Four format talks to end the Donbas war. The format currently involves the state leaders and foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France.
The two have exchanged barbs through the media over the past two months. When Putin offered Ukrainian citizens living in the Donbas passports days after Zelenskiy was elected, the new Ukrainian president dismissed it as a ticket to a country with little freedom.
The July 11 call comes just days after Zelenskiy posted a video statement offering to meet with Putin in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, to discuss the annexation of Crimea and conflict in Ukraine. Zelenskiy said that he would like the leaders of the U.S., Britain, France, and Germany to join the talks.
Asked about Zelenskiy’s proposal earlier on July 11, Putin told reporters that he’s open for talks with the new Ukrainian leader. He added, however, that such negotiations would be unlikely before Ukraine’s parliamentary elections are held on July 21 and a new Ukrainian cabinet is formed.